Victory is surrendering to God’s Divine will to let Him do what He wills to do through/in us and to get empowered to do what He wants us to do for His glory and then doing it.
David said to the Philistine (Goliath), “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I will strike you down and cut off your head…….and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. So David triumphed over the philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him” (1 Samuel 17:45-46; 50). There is a famous saying “God will never take you (the believers) where His grace cannot sustain you” and there is no place anywhere in the entire creation where His hand cannot reach. He desires and equips us to be victorious in every situation and each victory leads to perfection in the same manner that Lord Jesus was. God made His Son “little lower than the angels” but through His sufferings on the earth as Son of Man became “so much better than the angels, as He has inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they” (Hebrews 2:9 & 1:4). What the Son could do to be triumphant He has empowered us also to be, for the same Spirit dwells in us.
Apostle John was exiled to the Patmos Island by the Roman authorities and the Body of Christ was subjected to extreme persecution under Emperor Domitian (A.D. 90-95). During this period of exile God revealed to him the glorified Christ through a vision and a message was specifically dictated to each of the seven churches of Asia. These messages are recorded in chapters 2 and 3 of the Book of Revelation and the last verses to each offer a reward with a caution. The caution is “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches” implying that the messages were and are intended for those “who have ears” the spiritually tuned ears to hear “the still small voice of God”. The reward is for those who hear, obey and are victorious and the range of rewards is wide, from fruit of the tree of life to sharing the throne with the Lord Jesus. The messages are to encourage and the book declares victory of God over evil and many details of the same. In any contest a reward is offered only if there is hope of a winner and the Holy Spirit dwelling in us leads those who obey to victory and the “promised reward to the victorious”.
What is victory? – It is an act of defeating an opponent in battle or a competition and the Greek word translated as ‘victorious or overcomes’ is taken from the word “nikaw/ nikao”. This word is translated as “to overcome, be victorious, conquer, prevail or triumph” and by implication there are two parties to the conflict and only one prevails or triumphs. While the word ‘overcomes’ appears many times in the New Testament but the phrase “who overcomes” is mentioned only nine times and in two books only- 1 John and Revelation. “Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:5). This is the identity of those who overcome; the believers and thus rendered as the “children of God”.
Victory is obedience and surrender to His Divine will even unto death and through resurrection emerging triumphant to wear ‘the crown’; it is to be ready to be thrown into the fire declaring “our God is capable of saving us but even if He decides not to, we shall not bow down to any other God” (Daniel 3:17); it is seeing God’s mighty hand and not a giant (Goliath) standing before us. To overcome is to triumph over fear, anxiety, uncertainty, symptoms and voices around us “rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name” (Acts 5:41). Victory is forgiving your enemies and being different from the world that we live in.
Is it necessary to join the battle? – The question can be answered through another question- what is the purpose of your accepting Lord Jesus as your Savior? If the aim is to escape hell and acceptance is for fear of this attrition then we shall remain where we are trying to manage our sinful nature on our own and seeking forgiveness for our failures. This word is derived from the Latin word ‘atterere’ meaning ‘to rub’ that is ‘wearing down through sustained attack or pressure’ and Satan keeps on attacking regularly. The other aim is due to a “contrite spirit” and this is what was on display in the criminal on the cross who rebuked his old partner, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong” (Luke 23:40-43). Contrition is also from a Latin word ‘contritus’ meaning wear away or grind down, recognizing that one has done wrong and feeling or expressing remorse. In case we do not recognize our state and seek His power to come out of that, we are neither likely to grow in Christ nor ever overcome the enemy.
Lord’s blessings are for those of a contrite spirit- who are aware of their nature and desire to come out of it into “His Divine light”. The second aspect is to be thankful to Him but the question arises about the mode of giving thanks- is it to do mere lip service or do something beyond that? In casa we are neither willing to know more about Him nor ready to step out to tell others about what He has done in our lives, what sort of thanksgiving will it be? Everything in the world is changing and unless we as believers are willing for the regenerative change we shall remain static and get left behind. Apostle Paul calls it “pressing toward the goal” (Philippians 3:14) and expresses assurance of “the crown of righteousness” for having fought a good fight and finished the race while keeping the faith (2 Timothy 4:7-8).
Who is the enemy? – Often it is believed by many that Christians are protected and life thereafter is smooth sailing with no battles for the Lord Jesus has already fought and obtained victory. If this was so then these rewards and the condition to receive the same through overcoming would not be there. Rather as sinners we were part of the household of the devil and there was a small chance of battling the devil for he was then our master. The battle commences once we join the opposite camp, ruled by Lord Jesus, and step into the light from darkness. The enemy in our battle is “principalities, powers, rulers of darkness of this age, spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). There are four powers that we are required to overcome- Satan and his demonic powers are the chief adversary; the ‘rulers of darkness’ governing the world under the control and guidance of the devil; thirdly, our own self for our sinful nature and finally the outcomes of the above three powers causing darkness to overshadow light; blindness, evil, disobedience and rebellion.
What resources do I have? – David went in to battle with Goliath with full confidence that the Lord God was with him and victory was his. In the same manner our Lord has assured and blessed us with the indwelling Holy Spirit; the power that worked in various chosen people in the Old Testament. What is my ‘Order of Battle’ or the force level with me?
- The Grand Warrior – Hebrews 2:10 describes our Savior as “captain of their salvation (made) perfect through sufferings”. The same Captain had appeared to Joshua before the battle of Jericho as “Captain of the host of the Lord” (Joshua 5:14) and revealed to him the battle plan for victory. The same Captain is always with us in every battle “straightening the crooked paths and breaking open the doors of brass and breaking the bars of iron” (Isaiah 45:2). And He says clearly “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). He has given us “His peace” and by faith we receive that peace which comes only after the enemy is vanquished.
- The indwelling Holy Spirit – The one place where the Triune God is present together in one place at the same time is at the baptism of our Lord. The Spirit of God was seen “descending like a dove and alighting upon Him” (Matthew 3:16) and it was only after being empowered thus was “Jesus led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Matthew 4:1). Prophet Elisha prayed for the “opening of his eyes that he may see” and his servant Gehazi could see the heavenly forces arrayed around them in number far greater than the enemy forces (2 Kings 6:17). The power of the Holy Spirit enables us to fight the battles to victory while also deploying the heavenly forces around us in support- though we are unable to see the same with our worldly eyes. After receiving Jesus as the Lord of our lives we are born again and born of God. In this new life we are “Whatever is born of God overcomes the world” (1 John 5:4) for “greater is He (the Holy Spirit) who dwells in you, than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
The promise is for those who are born of God and the power is given to us because of this “change of our hereditary status” and we overcome because of this same power and not due to any of our personal strengths or efforts. We are victorious only due to our faith in our Savior and He is the only real vanquisher and victor. The source, the reason and the power behind our victory is the Lord Jesus and He alone.
In the process of creation God in His Divine plan commanded for “the Light to be there” without removing darkness and a separation was established between the two. God was well aware that darkness can never prevail over light and man was created “a little lower than angels” to overcome the power of darkness on the earth. His Son and our Lord and Savior prevailed over Satan through obedience and surrender to the “will of the Father” and gained perfection as a man and not as God and entered heaven with the body of a man to open the doors for us. The Lord showed us the way to victory and as our “Captain” and Savior tread on the path to perfection just to prove that it can be done. The urging for us is not for something which He did not do or which is too difficult for man to aspire for.
John Bunyan surrendered to the will of God and from his prison cell managed to write one of ‘the greatest books of Christian Literature’ which has been translated in over one hundred languages in the world. We are sojourners on the earth and our victory is assured in travelling over the path clearly demarcated by the Lord.
Victory He achieved and desires us to aspire for and achieve!!